Thursday, May 23, 2019

Quick Post Before The Weekend.

Hello everybody!   We are back to work at Pearson and having a ball!   Seriously!   This is not the PTE...  This is CMAS.   What do those letters mean?   I don't know.. but they sound important.   And the difference in the work load is incredible.

Let's just say CMAS is easier and we are back to getting bonuses.   And we are less stressed when we  come home from work.  I can't really explain it other than the project scoring 6th graders is far easier than foreign students.

Anyway.  We still work had, but it does not tax the brain as much. 

And with that, I will say that the weather has turned pleasant over the last day and a half.   And we are looking forward to the weekend. Cheryl has been recovering from some of that "post Race  Fatigue"  but she is ready to get back out there and run.  She has been running in the morning now, leaving me to bike on my own time.   ( Evening, if the weather allows.) Perhaps we will be broadcasting from a new location this weekend...  We shall see.

Anyway,  Happy Thursday!   Thanks for stopping in.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The 20 Mile Syttende Mai Marathon Complete. Cheryl Wins A Norwegian Plate!

Madison Wisconsin,  Scene of the
Greetings from No-Where, Iowa.   We are back home again in our super-secret base of operation in the middle of the corn belt.  Where we hide in plain sight where no one will ever look.  ( That's Wellman, Iowa.... Try finding it on a map)  It has been raining and blowing here for the last 4 days and I guess the rivers are rising and people are getting flooded.   I think my tomatoes are enjoying the weather though,  so I want to make sure they are not drowning while the rain softens up the hard clay soil...  But enough about Iowa!   Let's talk about the Race in Wisconsin!

They still have Tulips!
Cheryl completed the Syttende Mai 20 mile "Marathon" ( That's...Norwegian Marathon.) race.   As usual,  she was worried that she was under-trained and would not be able to complete it, let alone do a admirable job.   But this year, they included a medal as a finisher's prize.   Cheryl thought she would "risk it"  just for the Bling.
Overcast day,  Cool with rain in the
Forecast..Dum Dum Dum!!!!!

The Start of the Syttende
Mai Festival Race.
For those who are not from Wisconsin, or have not read last year's post on this same subject,  The Syttende Mai festival is in a Small town originally settled by Norwegian Fishermen back in the last 1800's: in  Stoughton, Wisconsin.  The Race begins in Madison and winds around, up and down hills all the way to Stoughton. I actually do not know if the historical fact is correct,  But for comedic purposes, we will stay with it.   Besides,  Norwegian fishermen settling in Wisconsin should set off a few question marks for some people.   If not,  just file it away for your next Party Trivia display.   You'll impress people!
With Cheryl...

At the Start Line..
So, yes!   The race started in Madison.   It was cool, overcast, and had rained the night before.   Everything was pointing ftowards  awesome running conditions. The race was larger than ever, but most of those people were in the 10 mile run  or the 17 mile walk.   The 20 milers were slightly over 150 people.   With a turnout this low, Cheryl was bound to have a good showing!

See they guy ham it up? 
I say that knowing that she was really running against herself and her last year's performance.   See,   although runners like to win...  (Money!)  They also like to beat themselves with new PR's and such.   And nothing shows these things off better than trinkets and toys that races give to people for being the "best" in their micro-niche field.   So if you can manage to attend a race and not get a new Personal Record,  Then at least you should be able to win a trophy for your efforts.   And a medal....  "Bling" is very important!

If only Cheryl had no been Hiding
behind him. 

So Cheryl ran by at the start behind a bunch of tall men.   One guy even posed for my camera!   He was probably not aware that my wife was just behind him.   Cheryl likes to start in the "middle" of the pack so I can't see her at the start.  I think she tries to test me with "Challenges" to make sure I'm up for the job of Photographer.     At least I managed to get a few shots before she ran by.

Stuck in Traffic....

The Runners Run by...
I raced off to Mile 5.   A small note for Future Ethan and Cheryl:   The State Fair was going on in Madison at the same time.  Meaning: Nolan Dr. was total grid lock!   The Google Maps are not much help here either as the signal bounces off the buildings in the downtown area.   I sat parked in the middle of a 4 lane highway as I watched Cheryl and the rest of the runners catch up and then, run past me!   ( Mile three!)

Even Cheryl is beating me. 
Avoid the Rimrock Intersection! 
  Once I finally got out of that.. Oh!  And the people who wanted to make the right turn were NOT very nice in allowing us to merge and go straight.   They blocked off our path and then refused to allow us through even though we had different destinations.  Where was I?  Oh!  Once I got out,  I headed for Mile 5... just like last year. (  So future Ethan:   Avoid Nolan Dr. near Rimrock Rd. when Chasing Cheryl for Syttende Mai!) 
Mile 5.  I made it ahead of her. 

At mile 5,  Cheryl zipped by so fast I barely had time to give her her drink.   I guess with the overcast skies and lack of heat,  she did not require as much chilled beverage as she did last year.   I was so focused on giving her her drink, I did not get the camera to cooperate.  ( I snapped the pics,  they just did not turn out as planned.)

Mile 11.5  On top of the Hill. 
Ready for an Ice Cold Beverage?
Onward to Mile 10!   This worked out slightly better, but I noted that Mile 10 had a water station already there!   (and a crowd of spectators!)  I skipped ahead about a mile to mile 11/12 and waited at the same place I did last year. 

With a Straw!

But no inspirational words. 
This was a good spot ( my opinion) because it was at the top of a hill after a long inclining stretch.   There was also a Polka Band around the corner giving away free beer!  I handed Cheryl her Diet Coke and gave her bits of inspiration and wisdom...  which she callously refused! ( Cheryl hates inspirational slogans and sayings....   So do I, for that matter.) Onward to Mile 15!

Mile 15,  Cheryl is becoming
Don't attack the Small Child.
At mile 15,  there was yet another water station.   I had to compete with the Boy scouts for watering privileges.  They might have had Gatoraid, but I had Diet Coke!   Chilled!   In a covered container with a straw.   Try beating That for a merit badge...

At the Finish.   I beat her!  Again!
Cheryl tosses her gloves. 
By this time, Cheryl was beginning to lose her hold on her inner monster. (It usually appears after 13 miles)    Around mile 18, I'm sure she would transform into a ferocious Werewolf or Mrs. Hyde!   But I made the hand off with all of my fingers still intact.   And I possibly saved a boyscout or two from being bitten.  Maybe I should get a merit badge for That!

Right at me... 
Right in front of the Officer!!!!
And finally on to the finish.   I parked the Subie  at the high school only to realize that the event was a full mile away.   Last year I waited for the bus.... and almost did not catch her near the end.

She looks happy to be
  This year, I walked... er,  Ran to the finish line.   I only had to cover one mile and Cheryl had to run 5...  I figured I could beat her.   Even though I'm fat, old and out of shape...  Cheryl had already run 15 miles and was losing her grip on reality.   I figured the advantage was in my favor.

I barely arrived at the finish when Cheryl came in.  She carried her gloves the entire run and decided to toss them right as she passed in front of a police officer!   Luckily, I was there to pick them up so Cheryl would not be sighted for littering! (Just kidding!  First,  runners often ditch clothes along a race route as they overheat.   And second:  I think that was a volunteer, not an officer. 
Find Cheryl in this Picture. 
Either way, I doubt anyone would have gone to prison over it.   Volunteers usually pick up discarded clothing and either toss them or donate them to Goodwill.)  Also,  Cheryl did not want to lose these gloves because they match her outfit.   Thus:  She waited until she saw me to toss them.
How about this one? 

Tell the guy I'm not stalking him..

As I followed her through the crowd,  she tried her best to disappear.   Can you find her in this picture?   

Geting the goodies.
Showing off the Medal. 
The guy must have thought I was some creepy photographer...  but No!  Cheryl was behind him. I often end up taking pictures of total strangers, but at this race,  I appear to have been doing it more often.   Thanks honey!   Now I have the "Creepy Guy" reputation....
Pretty good for a first  medal.
The medal was cool.   I believe this is the first year they offered a finisher's medal.   I think it  was done very well.  She also got a shirt that was a bright vibrant color. 

And now we wait.  Too bad we
couldn't find the beer. 
And a bright T-Shirt.
We tried to hang out on the grass, but most of the ground was still soaked from the previous night's rain.   Cheryl discovered that she had won an award, so we had to wait for the Award's Ceremony to begin so she could get her hand-crafted Syttende Mai Plate!  Granted, it is not a wooden shoe, like Pella wanted to give away,  But I think a Plate is far more useful than a single wooden shoe.
Cheryl wins a Major Award! 

Hand painted Norwegian Plate.
Within moments of the conclusion,  the rain began to fall.   Quite the downpour!    I had left all of my rain gear in the car, ( one mile away!) and Cheryl wanted to sample some food before leaving the festival.

Rain forces people into the shops.
The bakery was packed!  We skipped
   Many of the businesses were packed as people attempted to flee the weather,  but we managed to find a few things to sample.  A Norwegian version of the "Pig In A Blanket"  (Similar to miniature Polish Sausage in a Crepe/tortilla ) and some Norwegian Meatballs.   ( Very similar to Swedish Meatballs.... only bigger?)    We skipped the bakery and chose to hit one of the festival vendors for our sweets.
Eating Norwegian Meatballs. 
A lot like Swedish, only bigger! 
The rain was falling pretty hard now, so we set up under an awning and sampled our treats.   It was too bad that we had to get back so early and the rain seemed to "dampen" the festival a little for us.   It was not bad, but I would not have minded if it had remained dry for the duration.   I should be thankful that the rain held off as long as it did for the race.
Rain is really comeing down now!
 On our way out of town,  we saw the last 20 mile runner walking it in.   It was pouring rain and he was about 2 miles from the finish.   Most of the race event staff were packing things up.   I'm not sure there was going to be much left for him when he got there.   There were several people finishing up in the rain and they seemed to embrace it.   Nothing like being "Really " miserable during a race!  It makes you enjoy the food and that warm shower so much better when you get home.
We hunker down and eat sweets. 
While runners continue to come

So the final tally:   Cheryl ran the 2019 Syttende Mai 20 mile run in 2:38:39  with an average pace of 7:56 minutes per mile.  Compared to last year:   2018.   She ran 2:48:15.  That is almost a 10 minute improvement over last year!   Did she ring the "New PR bell"?   Nope!   She didn't want to "brag..."   I would have rung it for her, had I not already appeared to be creepy enough.  She said she had a little trouble in the first 5 miles, but managed to pull through and finish with a decent time.

Ultimately a success. 
With a Major Award!
(Not Money....) 
Overall,   Not a bad experience.  Is it as good as the first time?  There really is no way to ever capture that first time again.  However,  it was fun and we both would have liked to have stayed longer.   But with work,  weather,  and a cat...   sometimes you have to make concessions.  Tomorrow is back to work, and we will have to get back into the saddle of scoring 6th grader's papers.  But Cheryl got her Medal,  Her T-shirt,  and a Hand-painted Norwegian Plate as a major award.  And a New PR... even though she refuses to ring the PR bell.  She should be happy with those results.   Perhaps we can do it again next year!   We shall see.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Greetings From Wisconsin!

After a long day of scoring papers for 6th graders in Rhode Island,   what better way to unwind than to run a Norwegian marathon?    I guess the Norwegians are not as crazy as the rest of the world,  limiting their marathons to only 20 miles....  Either that OR the distance between Madison Wisconsin and Stoughton Wisconsin is just....  20 miles! 

Either way,  we are going to celebrate Syttende Mai  with the Norwegians here in German Country.  Even though I'm Swedish and Cheryl is Dutch(-ish) And both of us are German (we think), we are still apparently welcome to join in on the fun. 

So.   After a  long day at work,  a long drive here... what ever shall we do?   Well,  Drink beer and rest up for tomorrow.  It is on only thing we can do at this point.   It is 9:00 P.M. and we have an early morning to scope out the route and find our spectator spots.    Also, there will be Romelgrot for our future. 

I should also note that Cheryl has to run it.   20 miles!   I keep forgetting there is an element of "work" involved.   But not for me...  (unless pictures and fueling points count....  then I guess I still have a job.) 

I'll keep it brief and sign off.   Hopefully I will have a good day tomorrow and will have enough pictures and bandwidth to post something.   We shall see. 

Wish us Luck! 


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